Category 4: Small Barns & Toolsheds


  Sawyer: Justin Metcalf
Location: Mars Hill, North Carolina
Equipment: LT40 Hydraulic

Project Dimensions: 16' X 26’, 1,248 sq ft
95% of lumber cut on the mill: 10,000 BF
Estimated Savings: $8,500
Wood Species Used: Hemlock, Cypress, Yellow Locust, Chestnut Oak

FIRST PLACE - One-of-a-Kind Grist Mill

Artists use all kind of mediums. Mozart used the violin. Michelangelo preferred marble. When Justin Metcalf set out to create a one-of-a-kind grist mill, he knew a Bob Ross oil on canvas creation wasn’t going to cut it. He used wood, and lots of it. From hemlock to cypress, yellow locust to chestnut oak, Justin embarked on a mission to achieve a goal by building an old world grist mill. Armed with his LT40 Hydraulic mill, and with the inspiration of the picturesque backdrop of Mars Hill, North Carolina, his “design-as-you go" grist mill became a reality. He shared, “This has been a dream since I was a boy. Grist mills have always been a great interest to me, as I am a 4th generation miller.” The result is a 1,248-square-foot, 16' x 26' structure.

The mill was created with 8,500 feet of hemlock to make up the framing, floors, siding, trim, beams, and grinding mill parts. Additionally, 600 feet of cypress was used to construct the water wheel and (400 feet of yellow locust adds to the beams, exterior stairs, door locks and latches) 500 feet of chestnut oak were cut into 18" x 18" beams for the water wheel carriage. Approximately 10,000 feet (roughly 95%) of the utilized lumber was milled using his LT40, and as Justin puts it, “This would not have been possible, it would not exist, if not for my sawmill. My sawmill made it possible to fulfill a dream!”

The LT40 seems to be the perfect machine for such a project. When asked what features of the LT40 hydraulic were helpful, he
shared, “Being able to cut different size and shape materials and making multiple cuts with one pass.” Over the course of 18 months, and with the help of a few friends, Justin was able to save nearly $8,500 and more than a few headaches. Unlike most builders who use a plan and prints, Justin took the artistic approach, choosing instead to create as the project progressed. The preference to use old time carpentry and no plans resulted in a one- of-a-kind experience for all those involved. Before embarking on their adventure a good friend of Justin’s asked, “What are we going to do if everything goes to hell in a handbasket?” He simply responded, “We will put up a water wheel and start grinding corn.”

So, the next time you find yourself near Mars Hill, keep an eye out. Look for a touch of old world in this creation. See if you can spy the water wheel, the stone base and the charming front porch of this truly remarkable creation. You might just find yourself transported to a place where dreams are made real.








  Sawyer: Robin Graham
Location: Owens Cross Roads, Alabama
Equipment: LT15

Project Dimensions: 32' X 30' boathouse, 18' X 20' deck, 960 sq ft 
40% of lumber cut on the mill: 3,600 BF 
Estimated Savings: $20,000
Wood Species Used: White Oak, Cedar, Cherry

SECOND PLACE - A Use for Damaged Trees

When a natural disaster strikes, trees are often in the path of destruction. Robin Graham was faced with this situation when several tornadoes came through Alabama and left a trail of downed trees. Not wanting to see this resource go to waste, his solution was to purchase a Wood-Mizer LT15 portable sawmill and begin milling his logs and drying the lumber. As a one man operation, Robin liked that the bed rails of the LT15 were close to the ground so he could manually roll the logs onto the mill easily and also appreciated having the automated power feed option.

Two years after milling the wood, he started construction on a boathouse, using about 3,600 board feet of white oak, cedar, and cherry wood. He and his wife had wanted to build a boathouse on the lot for a while and wanted something that was unique.

Robin spent eight months on the construction. The boathouse is built on 6" x 6" pressure treated posts driven into the lake bottom using a floating pile driver. Unique features include built-in shelves, rolling cedar barn doors, and a boat lift with the mechanics all hidden in the ceiling. The boathouse measures 32' x 30' with an 18' x 20' upper deck and 140' of walkways and stairs leading to the water. Purchasing a Wood-Mizer sawmill has proven to be a good investment as Robin estimates he saved about $20,000 by using his LT15. While building on the water presented its challenges, the end result was very rewarding for Robin, and he was thrilled with how the finished product turned out. “Being able to design the boathouse, then cut, mill, and prepare the wood has provided a great sense of personal satisfaction and accomplishment.”






Sawyer: Robert Gondar
Location: West Burke, Vermont
Equipment: LT15

Project Dimensions: 16' X 32', 512 sq ft
100% of lumber cut on the mill: 3,734 BF 
Estimated Savings: $2,240
Wood Species Used: Tamarac, Spruce/Fir, Eastern White Cedar

THIRD PLACE TIE - Maple Syrup Sugarhouse 

"I enjoy making maple syrup but it can be difficult when trying to do it entirely outside. I had always wanted a comfortable and warm sugarhouse and with a little prodding from my grandchildren, the dream turned into a reality. It was a true sense of accomplishment that wouldn't have been affordable without having my own wood lot and a Wood-Mizer. I was finally able to boil my sap from an outdoor barrel evaporator to a nice and comfortable building. Many friends and neighbors joined me during the sap season to make it an enjoyable and tasty winter."





Sawyer: Randy Madison
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Equipment: LT15

Project Dimensions  : 17' X 36', 17' X 12' loft, 816 sq ft
95% of lumber cut on the mill: 3,500 BF  
Estimated Savings: $10,000+
Wood Species Used: Southern Yellow Pine, Hickory

THIRD PLACE TIE - Timber Frame Triumph

After constructing many small stick built structures, Randy wanted to try timber framing on a smaller scale in order to get more experience before building his retirement home in that style. Two years later, the result is an 816-square-foot timber frame woodworking shop. "I'm very proud that it all went together without incident. The LT15 is a rugged and accurate machine, able to cut timbers to dimensions commercial mills can. It is totally easy to start and easy to run," Randy said. Fresh off his first timber frame success, Randy is looking forward to building his retirement home now that he has more experience in timber frame construction. 
Share This Page with Friends:
Email this page to a friend